A 54-year-old Chicago Public Schools teacher at Taft High School on the Northwest Side died Saturday in a chain-reaction crash on the Tri-State Tollway between Touhy and Devon in Des Plaines after helping a woman and child to safety.
Jeffery R. Komada was the director of the technology department at Taft, 6350 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Taft Principal Mark Grishaber said.
Komada, of Des Plaines, was hit after getting out of his Honda CR-V after it rear-ended a Ford Windstar minivan that had stalled out in the middle lane of traffic just after 10 a.m., according to the Illinois State Police.
A Volkswagen Tiguan then rear-ended the Honda, the police said.
Komada helped a 38-year-old woman and a 4-year-old girl who were in the Volkswagen into the back of his vehicle to get them over to the shoulder of the highway, police and fire officials said, and was standing outside when a semi-tractor-trailer truck hit him, his vehicle and Volkswagen.
Komada — who was named an “Educator of the Year” at Taft in 2015 — died at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
“He was an esteemed colleague, and he was a friend to everyone in the building,” Grishaber said. “He was one of the kindest people I have ever met. He will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”